ZWO cameras and Eclipse

Use this section to discuss "standard" Baader/Coronado/ Lunt SolarView/ Daystar, etc… filters, cameras and scopes. No mods, just questions/ answers and reviews.
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AndreaB
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ZWO cameras and Eclipse

Post by AndreaB » Thu Mar 23, 2017 9:06 pm

I'm somewhat new with things and I've recently come across this forum. I have an Edge HD 800 and just purchased a used Lunt 60PT DS scope. I happened to look through a Lunt a couple years ago at Dragoncon in Atlanta. I bought the solar scope partially to prepare for the solar eclipse. I have had friends over to see the Venus transit and Mercury transit recently with a white solar filter on the Edge HD, and those same friends are traveling to South Carolina to be there for the eclipse.

I'm looking at purchasing a ZWO CMOS camera (maybe 2 of them). I'm thinking of buying 2 cameras just because I realize there isn't a one size fits all camera and they're on sale right now. I'd like to image a little of the eclipse, but really want to experience it, so imaging isn't a high priority. Either maybe image a little in the early stages of the eclipse and then enjoy the eclipse, or I've heard of some software called an eclipse orchestrator where you turn it on and it will automatically take pics during the eclipse. I really don't want to be fiddling with imaging too much during the eclipse. Not sure the Eclipse Orchestrator works with a CMOS though. Does anyone know?

I'd like to image the Sun, Moon, planets and a little DSO. I've been researching, but it's extremely confusing. Reading here I see that the best ZWO camera for solar would be the ASI174mm, but have read on here somewhere that the 5 pixel/sensor size might not be good with the Lunt 60. Using SkySafari I see I would get the full-disk with it, which would be great I think for imaging the eclipse and having a live view through the Lunt during it. Is this the best long term for imaging with the Lunt 60? Not sure what would be better with the shutter it has, etc. Looking at things it looks like I'd need a 5X barlow to image planets with the Edge 8 (f/10), so thinking about getting the ASI124mc as the other camera. Generally thinking of buying the ASI174mm Cool and the ASI124mc. I'm assuming the 174mm Cool would work the same as the plain AS174mm and I could grow a little and maybe move to medium sized DSO's. Would the ASI124 be good with the Edge HD 8, or would the ASI290mc one be better? I keep reading about the newer ASI290mm and ASI124 for planets, but I really don't want to go mono for that to avoid a filter wheel. Not sure this is the place to ask about that necessarily?

thanks in advance!

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Montana
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Re: ZWO cameras and Eclipse

Post by Montana » Mon Mar 27, 2017 6:04 pm

A very warm welcome Andrea, sorry I have missed your post as it was last Thursday! and no one has replied :(

Cameras are a nightmare to get right. Shall we go in stages.

1. Eclipse - A webcam like the Zwo will work well for the initial stages of eclipse, it will work well with hydrogen alpha by taking a series of frames in an avi and then you can use a stacking tool to get a sharp image. Stick to less than 20 seconds otherwise the Moon will move and you get strange stacking errors. During totality hydrogen alpha, white light or Calcium K filter will not work as the Moon will totally block the sun (hence total eclipse). For totality you will have to use a regular camera on a tripod and image the corona, perhaps try a range of different exposures from 1/4000 to 1 second.

2. For regular solar viewing with the Lunt 60. Here you need a mono webcam, usually the smaller the pixel size is good for short focal lengths, large pixel sizes are good for long focal length telescopes. You want to be able to fit a full disc on the chip but you also want to use a Barlow for closer views and not over sample or under sample. Mark Townley has some good information on his website, also check out the library section and check out this post viewtopic.php?f=4&t=17660&p=170227&hili ... ch#p170227

3. For planetary you want a really fast frame rate!!! and probably colour unless you have filter wheels etc. For planetary I have the PGR colour Blackfly, it is fabulous. For deep sky imaging really you need a cooled camera and perhaps colour if you don't have filter wheels.

So all in all you need at least 4 different cameras :)

Alexandra

AndreaB
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Re: ZWO cameras and Eclipse

Post by AndreaB » Tue Mar 28, 2017 12:57 am

Thanks so much for responding! it was more thought process than a question probably so glad you answered. All this is pricey for sure and confusing! It's almost like ZWO has too many models to choose from. I just want to jump on 2 cameras that'll cover the sun, planets, and smaller dso's. I'm pretty much going with the 174mm-cool with it's really fast shutter speed and would be good for solar photos, maybe trying to catch a satellite, and if its cooled, I can later try some bigger dso's, and the 224mc for planets. I mostly plan to just image partials during the eclipse and realize there probably won't be much to see during the totality in the Lunt. Frankly, I'm still just trying to look through the thing and tune correctly so I can actually see anything. The first time I looked through it, I got it focused, but it was very blank. I then read the sun was really inactive, so maybe that's all there was to see.

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